Worst Advice Ever

Brush in the Can

Don’t you love when someone posts a piece of really, really bad, clueless advice on a popular blog, all the cool kids repeat it over and over again? Instructables made a silly suggestion that you should keep your pait brushes in your paint cans. Make, picked it up and reposted it on their blog. Cory Doctorow found it there and then reposted it on Boingboing. By the evening it will probably hit hundreds of other blogs.

To bad that this is a horrible advice. You will most likely completely destroy your brush like this. Here are the reasons why:

  1. You should never store brushes with the bristles down. The weight of the tool will bend them and you will end up with a spoon, forked or an octopus brush that will be unusable
  2. You should never allow paint to hit the base of the bristles. It will gather there and dry into small globs that are nearly impossible to get out. These globs will push your bristles appart creating gaps in the bristle edge eventually leading to forking and “crazy hair” that will simply stick out at random angles.
  3. Paint left on a shelf separates. The dense pigment and adhesive substances deposit on the bottom while the semi-transparent liquid thiner floats on top. This is why painters shake the can, or mix the paint before starting to work. Otherwise you end up with a glue that is too dense to paint with, and water which has no pigment. The most important part of your brush – the bristle line will slowly be encased in that densest, most glue like paint on the bottom of the can. You will have to wash it anyway before you sart painting

So why do these alleged professional painters store brushes this way? Most likely because they will come back the next day and finish the job. Or perhaps they will toss both the can, and the chepo brush they already charged you for on their way home. Who the hell knows. I can tell you one thing – they do not do that to the good brushes.

Good brushes need to be washed with soap and water (and a paint thinner for oil based crap) and cleaned with a brush comb. How do I know this? I used to do contracor work with my dad for a long time. I painted allot of walls, and cleaned allot of brushes.

So remember kids – not everything you find on BoingBoing or Make is good advice.

Update Sat, July 01 2006, 07:32 PM

Fixed spelling and grammatical mistakes. Thanks, Henke.

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3 Responses to Worst Advice Ever

  1. nvonflue UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Mac OS says:

    Thank you for posting this. I was about to do the same, however I’d add that it also a huge pain to try and re-use again, once you found your brush has slipped over time into the bottom of the paint and is completely submerged. It’s way more of a pain to fish a brush or roller out of a paint can and clean it off before trying to touch up, than just cleaning it when you’re done, or buying a new one.

    I work with a lot (and in the wake) of contractors and it’s true they almost all leave their brushes and rollers in the can nowadys. It’s laziness mostly, and in my estimation bad advice.

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  2. Henke SWEDEN Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    – Spelled “paint brush” with a t…
    – And in the sentence: “Otherwise you end up with a glue that is to dense to paint with, and water which has no pigment.” you ought to have two o’s, as in “too”.
    – “the bristle line will be slowly encased in that densest, most glue like paint on the bottom of the can.”
    — what about “the bristle line will slowly be encased in the densest, most glue-like paint at the bottom of the can”?


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  3. Luke UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Thanks. I fixed all the mistakes.

    I should probably start proofreading my posts before I hit that submit button :P

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